The future is connected
Not long ago the very idea of autonomous driving belonged on the big screen: driverless cars appeared, at best, in inspiring yet somewhat absurd scenes in science fiction movies. Filmmakers’ visions seem to have paved the way for innovation: these days, technology companies are pouring billions in R&D efforts and forecasts expect a sharp boom in the global autonomous vehicle market within less than two decades.
Sounds like a long shot? Not anymore.
Ever since the invention of the wheel, technology and vehicles have been inseparable. The evolution of intelligent vehicle technologies will no doubt impact all areas of life. Everyday consumer use of self-driving cars may take a while longer but the technology that makes all this possible is already here and ready to use for commercial purposes.
Smarter. Faster. Greener. A new era in fleet management
On the verge of the fourth industrial revolution, telematics is one of the most exciting areas where transformation takes place.
The range of functions already available in fleet management is nothing less but amazing. The numerous benefits telematics technology can deliver for fleet management is the driving force behind the rapid expansion of the telematics market.
Practical applications, such as vehicle financing, maintenance, tracking and diagnostics, fuel management, health and safety management allow companies to minimize the risks associated with vehicle investment, improving efficiency, productivity and reducing overall transportation costs. Moreover, telematics data can also be used to control CO2 emissions and thus reducing the company’s carbon footprint; a critical issue every responsible market player needs to handle.
Predict, plan, prepare, prioritize
What telematics is capable of contributing to fleet management can only be described as truly astonishing. Relying on data, fleet managers can predict, plan and prepare for all possible outcomes, prioritize tasks and, consequently, increase profit margins, maximize safety and minimize costs.
So what’s new and what to watch for on the telematics market in 2019?
#1 Data management: the bigger, the better
Telematics devices collect an enormous amount of data and this amount, without a doubt, will grow exponentially: the more data you collect, the more efficient your fleet management becomes.
Vehicle telematics applications, such as vehicle tracking and diagnostic services, are designed to improve efficiency by monitoring the location, movements, status and behavior of the fleet. In short: vehicle telematics promotes shifting from diagnostic to prognostic approaches leading to greater safety and efficiency.
In order to achieve this goal, however, novel big data analysis techniques are called for, especially for analyzing data from various telematics devices to gain a more realistic and precise assessment for the whole fleet.
#2 Transmission: Acute need for speed
The development of telematics is strongly tied to the evolution of 5G network communication. Fast and real-time data exchange between devices requires an upgraded network for consistent and reliable data transmission. The next-generation mobile data networks, 5G will bring a boost to autonomous technologies in general. The technology will provide many improvements in speed, coverage, and reliability to make direct and uninterrupted communication between vehicles possible.
Sounds incredible? Wait until the next generation telematics solutions go live through the use of advanced data networks.
#3 Data protection and data security: A growing concern
The challenge of storing and protecting the vast amount of data telematics devices collect remains a key area fleets need to address.
While connectivity presents unprecedented benefits as regards both road safety and business profitability, the more vehicles become connected, the more vulnerable they become to cyber attacks. Consequently, fleet managers are now facing two major IT-related security issues: privacy concerns and an increased exposure to cyberthreats.
In resolving privacy issues, the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation urged companies to reconsider their methods for the collection and storage of telematics information. Then again, it is in the companies’ best interest to ensure the data they amass and process is safe. Accumulated data is a valuable asset and the negative impacts of a breach or loss on competitiveness need no further elaboration.
Protecting telematics data requires a comprehensive and proactive approach to explore, locate and patch vulnerabilities. Transportation and logistics companies of all sizes will need to allocate resources to secure their fleets by protecting data en route between devices and servers as well as developing firm policies on access and storage.
#4 System integrations: Connecting applications for better insights
Efficient fleet management is no longer possible without synchronizing key telematics data with the company’s existing fleet management reporting systems. Connecting multiple telematics applications and accounting systems is essential for gaining better data analytics and crucial operational metrics, and consequently, better insights. Increasing customer demand for better insights underlines the importance of system integrations. Integration can also help maximize fleet safety and boost overall fleet utilization, another area attracting more attention in 2019.
Many fleets have implemented a BYOD model for their systems. Custom-made as they might be, they also come with severe limitations, such as the lack of app-to-app integration, leaving massive potential for growth in the market of system integrations.
No wonder why demand for flexible and customer-specific solutions is on the rise. As fleets use increasing amounts and types of technology to control their fleet, technology companies are rapidly developing software and applications to enable seamless integration solutions.
#5 Fleet safety: accident-prevention and predictive maintenance
A core principle of fleet management is to ensure safety for vehicles, cargo and personnel, a necessity and a responsibility rolled into one. When vehicle telematics is involved, the emphasis is on the development of accident-prevention solutions and predictive maintenance systems.
Vehicle telematics cover a number of progressive services for fleet safety, including emergency warning systems and GPS navigation, automatic driving assistance systems, radars, sensors, etc. Some of these focus on drivers’ safety, others on the secure handling of the cargo, but each is designed to improve fleet performance.
Vehicle diagnostics, for example, assists in scheduling vehicle maintenance: by optimizing vehicle performance, fleet managers need to calculate with less downtime and a lower chance of compromising priority freights.
Monitoring drivers’ behavior, on the other hand, might sound a more delicate issue. In the long run, however, these data can prove remarkably useful in improving safety on the road. A better understanding of driving behavior and habits followed by proactive response to the trends identified can significantly reduce the rate of accidents, and protect company property and reputation at the same time. Though at first sight it may come off as an intrusion to privacy, acknowledging the benefits are anticipated to leave drivers feel less frustrated and more in control.
Reactive approaches be gone: enter predictive fleet management
Through predictive analysis and comprehensive operational insights, vehicle telematics gives fleets a competitive edge to maintain and strengthen their positions on the market. It is safe to say that fleet management is near to impossible without telematics. The fear of missing out (and be left out) is very real: those who are slow to follow trends and developments can easily find themselves left in the dust.